My middle child is all metal. He is a rock god. He’s twelve. This past winter, during his second week of cotillion he learned the fox trot. He’s quick to point out that foxes don’t trot, in case you’re curious. Cotillion teaches formal dance steps and social etiquette that my kids can’t possibly learn at home. I was a non Cotillion kid when I was in middle school, mostly because my mother was in her rejection of the establishment phase circa 1976. Of course it was all the other kids talked about at school the next day – the horror of dancing together in fancy clothes. But they were grinning like idiots and I knew I was missing out.
My guy who lives in his black Slayer t-shirt and baggy black jeans with ringlets down to his shoulders cleans up good for cotillion. He had been planning his cotillion attire for two years, since his older brother was forced to attend. His attitude was much more enthusiastic, provided that I allowed him to wear a camoflage tux with a top hat. Sadly, we never found one. In a navy blazer and khakis he’s still all metal. A rock god. James Hetfield in a suit is still James Hetfield.
That night they learned the art of proper introduction. When changing dance partners, one introduces themselves, first and last name. The instructor gave an example: “rather than ‘I’m Joe’ say instead ‘I’m Joe Clarke’.” Each time he changed dance partners and was paired with a girl from his school, my son introduced himself, “I’m Joe Clark”. Bingo. The girls laughed. There’s more to cotillion than the fox trot. Cotillion rocks.
Mary Allison Tierney's essay The Gingerdreadman is included in the anthology Mamas Write, available at Amazon, or your local independent bookshop.